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tv   Defense Secretary Confirmation Hearing  CSPAN  July 16, 2019 12:16pm-2:31pm EDT

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here on c-span3. first, we want to let you know today marks 50th anniversary since astronauts neil armstrong, michael collins and buzz aldrin began their historic flight to the moon. "apollo 11" launched from the space center carrying supplies and tools for samples on the surface. the air and space museum in washington is also holding several anniversary events. check c-span's program schedules for schedules of events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the launch, landing, and return of the "apollo 11" astronauts and spacecraft. >> as of right now on c-span3, mark esper's confirmation hearing just wrapped up.
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our meeting will come to order consistent with policies to start on time. we'll be doing that. good morning today we're considering the nomination of mark esper to be secretary of defense. we thank all for being here today. we anticipate doing your opening remarks, dr. esper, introduce any members of your family here and other support groups. it is standard we have the eight required questions to respond to audibly to get that in record. adhere to laws governing conflict of interest. >> yes, sir. >> assumed duties taken any actions that would appear to presume the outcome of the confirmation process?
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>> no, sir. >> exercise legislative oversight responsibility makes it important that this committee, its subcommittees and other appropriate kmtsz if congress received testimony, reports, recordings and other information from the executive branch on a timely basis. do you agree, if confirmed, to and and testify before this committee when requested. >> yes, sir. >> do you agree to provide records, document, electronic communications in a timely manner when requested by this committee, its subcommittees or appropriate committees of congress and to consult with the request regarding the basis for any good faith delay or denial in providing such records. >> yes, sir. >> will you ensure your staff complies with deadlines established by this committee for reports including timely responding to hearing questions
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for the record. >> yes, sir. >> will you cooperate providing witnesses in response to congressional requests. >> yes, sir. >> and finally, will those witnesses be protected from reprisal for their testimony and briefings? >> yes, sir. we need a confirmed leader to guide the department of defense through the time probably most, always say the same thing, most challenging time. senator reed and i agree with this, a confirmed secretary of defense will be more effective in the pentagon in washington and around the world. dr. esper you have been nominated to lead the defense. last decade america's main focus was counter-terrorism. we believed our military had the best of everything.
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the last administration thought we could cut our defense budget by hundreds of millions of dollars while fighting two wars and everything would turn out fine. we found out that was not the case. while the cut in our defense budget was taking place, it was actually between the two years of 2010 and 2015 that were cut 25%. according to the economist, this is a document senator wicker first called our attention to and we checked out afterwards, found it to be everything in this article to be accurate that while we were cutting our 25%, the chinese were increasing their military spending in that same timeframe by 83%. today we find ourselves in a new and different moment for america's security. america can't take military
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superiority for granted. china and russia passed us in dee areas and catching up in other areas. the national defense strategy, which is the document that we have used, which we've talked about and had a hearing on, and everyone agrees this was a bipartisan document and one that should be used and has been used. for that purpose. president trump has supported a new national defense strategy with his defense budgets putting us to a path to restore readiness and restore military advantage. hard work remains. most importantly we need a budget agreement. if we do not get a budget agreement, deal with fiscal year 2020 that includes the growth and top line we would squander the progress that we've made in fiscal years 2018 and 2019. as we all know, our fiscal year, our top line in the first of
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this new administration was at 700 and after that next fiscal year in '19 was $716 billion. then, of course, this bill we are at $750 billion. we want to avoid the crs, i think we all agree with that. the nds commission report said, quote, unpredictable and delayed funding placed to the national defense security in jeopardy. this isn't only about money, we can't buy our way out of the competition with china and russia, we need urgent change and a significant scale and that requires hard choices about threat and priorities, critical defense investments and new operational concepts. these are choices that can only be made by a strong secretary of defense who enjoys the trust and confidence of the president and who has the support of those entrusted with critical civilian
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leadership positions in the department of defense. i recognize senator reed for his opening statement and recognize senator kaine for an introduction. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. and i join in welcoming secretary esper to this morning's hearing. i would also like to welcome secretary esper's family, including his wife and their children, luke, john and kate. this effort is obviously not just the individual member, but the family, too, and we appreciate their service to the nation over many years. we are all pleased you could be here. secretary esper, as we review your qualifications to serve as secretary of defense, i notice you have a wealth of experience in defense policy, including recent service as the secretary of the army. prior to that you also served in senior leadership positions in both the public and private sector. if confirmed as the next secretary of defense your background, experience, should serve you well. it has been nearly seven months since the department has had a senate-confirmed secretary of defense and no other time has the office of the secretary remained vacant for so long.
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complicating the situation that under the vacancies act, secretary esper cannot search as the acting secretary of defense now that he's been nominated for the position. therefore secretary of navy spencer is serving as acting secretary of defense while the senate considers secretary esper. given these extraordinary set of circumstances the chairman and i agree that it is important to consider the nomination of secretary esper as expeditiously as possible. let me be clear, his confirmation shoopen a routine matter. while secretary esper has been performing the duties of the secretary for the past several weeks, serving as sblgt of army, the duties of secretary are unique. as such i believe it is incumbent upon this committee to vigorously vet his nomination and review his qualifications. secretary esper, as we consider your nomination, we must bear in mind the national security challenges facing our country. currently the department is focused on competition with peer adversaries like china and
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russia as the department pursues the new strategic direction established by the national defense strategy. also, iran and north korea replain dangerous and the threat posed by the violent extremists organizations is not diminishing. furthermore, the department must continue to recruit and retain high caliber individuals while restoring readiness and pursuing high end capabilities for the force. i specifically want to raise two issues related to committee's duty to conduct congressional oversight. any effort to withhold or curtail information necessary to fulfill the committee's oversight mandate is unacceptable. former acting secretary of defense shanahan recently promulgated a memo governing the committee's access to certain documents regarding executive orders. the memo stated that the trump administration would determine which materials should be provided to congress based on whether the request contained sufficient information to demonstrate a relationship to a legislative function. i think we make that determination, not the department of defense. tensions often exist between the executive and legislative
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branches, regardless of political parties. however, as duly elected officials this committee understands what information is necessary. we are judicious in the number of requests we make to the department and rigidly control and protect the sensitivity of the information provided to us. for oversight purposes. second, the department must keep congress fully and currently informed of major military developments. for example, on may 5th, the president's national security adviser announced that the u.s. was deploying a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to centcom. in response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications involving iran. the threats were apparently significant enough to not only to surge additional military capabilities in the region but for secretary pompeo to cancel a meeting with german prime minister merkel in order to fly to iraq. it took the department of defense five days to share any information to congress. i find that unacceptable. secretary esper, you indicate in your advance policy questions if confirmed you will reassess the department's policy. i appreciate your assurance and i hope that you will make a concerted effort to keep this
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committee fully and currently informed on critical national security developments, particularly if it involves surging additional military capabilities to a specific region. based on our working relationship during your tenure as secretary of the army, i am confident we can work together to ensure congress has the information it needs to do the job. secretary esper, as was discussed during general milley's confirmation hearing last week, there is a staggering number of senior vacancies in the department. constant turnover coupled with the duration of these vacancies is troubling every member of this committee wants to ensure that high caliber candidates serve in the department and we will continue to fully evaluate and expeditiously consider nominees for these positions. secretary esper, if confirmed, yourability to effectively manage the difficult challenges facing the department as well as extensive pentagon bureaucracy will require strong civilian leadership. i am concerned that the defendant defense is adrift in a way i have not seen in my whole time on capitol hill. your success may even be
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contingent upon ensuring these civilian vacancies are filled quickly and with capable and talented individuals. it is my hope that you will work with the white house to impress on them the importance of filing these positions. finally, let me close with the following. if you are confirmed, you will help oversee national security policy for a president whose temperament and management skills are challenging and likely very different from your own. while i do not agree with the president on many policy issues i do want him to be surrounded by leaders who can provide thoughtful advice and counsel. if confirmed you must be willing and able to provide the president with your best policy advice even if the president disagrees with your counsel and it returns contrary to his policy goals. but most importantly while the secretary of defense serves at the pleasure of the president, we should never forget that they also oversee the finest fighting force in the world. men and women who have volunteered to serve a cause greater than themselves. our service members and their
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families should always be at the forefront when considering defense policy or military action. if confirmed i am confident that you will do so. again, i thank you, mr. chairman, for holding this hearing. i look forward to the hearing. and hearing from our nominee. thank you. >> thank you, senator reed. senator kaine, you are recognized to introduce our guest today. >> mr. chair, ranking member reed and my colleagues on the committee, i actually will not introduce dr. esper because you all know him, but i will present him to you and recommend his nomination. you know him because of his work as secretary of the army and interaction with each of you. barbara tuckman wrote in her 1962 pulitzer prize winning book about the first world war "the guns of august" that, quote, character begets power, especially in hours of crisis.
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that is a quote that is about both individuals and also about nations. over the past two years my interactions with dr. esper have convinced me -- have led me to the conclusion that he is a person of sound character and moral courage, which i believe are the most important traits of a secretary of defense charged with the lives of the women and men who serve the department of defense. he was born in uniontown, pennsylvania, the same town that produced general george c. marshall who also as an adult found his way to becoming a virginian, like dr. esper. he spent the majority of his adult life in service to the country starting with his entry into the united states military academy at west point and continuing through his career in the army, active, guard, reserve, service to the white house, service to this body. in fact, dr. esper has really sort of seen it all as an active guard and reserve member, work in the private sector, work in think tanks on national security policy, service to house and senate committees, service to individual senators and service
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to two republican administrations. you are familiar with his biography, but i just wanted to share two instances of working together with dr. esper, which has led me to the conclusion that he is the person of character who should lead the department. one of the first phone calls i received after i introduced legislation to address challenges with the unacceptably high unemployment rate of military spouses was from then secretary esper, who thanked me for the legislation, talked about his own concern about this as secretary of the army and wanted to work together to tackle this very, very serious challenge. and we have worked together cooperatively on that, and i've been pleased with the army's ongoing efforts in that way. the same commitment to address the quality of life of our military families was something that i noticed when this committee began the investigation into the very painful circumstances surrounding substandard military housing. the initial responses by some in the department and at the bases
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themselves, and i think we all experienced this, were skepticism, disbelief, denial, avoidance. that was not the response of secretary esper. it was the department of the army that first developed the tenant bill of rights which became the basis of one of the key provisions that we included in the ndaa this year. secretary esper extended an invitation for senator warner and i could accompany him to see the conditions of housing at ft. belvoir. south here of the virginia army base. when a secretary asks you to do something you kind of wonder if you're going to see what version of it. we've sort of solved this, and we're proud of our solution. no, we didn't see that. secretary esper took us to the unvarnished version of problematic housing and people who had been treated badly and couldn't get help from their chain of command or the private housing companies. we heard in a very blunt way about problems these families had experienced that were heartbreaking in some ways.
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we had a round table discussion with other families around the table. and when the families presented their experiences, encouraged by secretary esper to do so, and then often base personnel would begin to respond if he detected any, you know, delay or we can't deal with that right away, secretary esper in a firm and professional way but a very tough way would not let people get by with substandard responses. he insisted that the families be dealt with fairly and promptly. that willingness to display personal accountability was very impressive both to senator warner and me. he has been proactive and he has been transparent. i acknowledge the comments made by the ranking member about the need for transparency and working with the committee, and i think those are trademarks of exceptional leadership. most of us were very discouraged by the resignation of secretary mattis. what we've hoped for is a successor who can show the same level of candor and principle and a willingness to remain independent even in the
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most challenging circumstances. i believe that dr. esper has those traits and would encourage all of my colleagues to support his nomination. thank you, mr. chair, ranking member. >> thank you, senator kaine. whether you call it that or not, i call it an excellent introduction. dr. esper, you are recognized for comments you might want to make and your entire statement will be made a part of the record. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i just which senator kaine could stay here for the next couple hours next to me. chairman inhofe, ranking member reed and distinguished members of the committee, it is an honor and a privilege to appear before you as the president's nominee for secretary of defense. i'd like to especially thank senator kaine for that very kind, gracious, humbling introduction. sir, i will not let you down.
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you have been a leader here in the senate, you've been a leader because you are a father of a marine, you have always taken care of our servicemen and women and as you mentioned, i've really enjoyed working closely with you these past couple years and our experience at ft. belvoir, again, assured me that there is bipartisanship in this -- in this building, on capitol hill, and there are leaders out there who will do the right thing and i know you will continue to demonstrate that leadership for our servicemen and women, for your constituents, for our nation so thank you very much. i deeply appreciate your rye -- remarks. remarks.remarks. emar. i want to thank the president for this opportunity and for his confidence in me. i'm grateful for the time that main of you have spent with me in recent weeks and thankful for the committee's swift attention to my nomination. although i have served 22 days as the acting secretary of defense, today i appear before you as the secretary of the army in accordance with the vacancy act. i would like to begin by recognizing my wife and our children, luke, john and kate,
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who join me today. like all military families, they have made many sacrifices in support of my service to the nation. over the past 20 months, leah has traveled with me many times to meet with army families and spouses in both the united states and abroad. as a former military spouse herself, she has been an invaluable asset as we focused on a range of family issues. so i want to publicly thank her for her support, and i'm confident that if i am confirmed, she will assist me in taking care of our great families across the entire department of defense. i have blessed in variety of capacity in active duty in regular army for 10 years, united states and abroad during both "war and peace." on reserve duty in the national guard and army reserve for another 11 years, on capitol hill as a personal committee and leadership staffer in the house
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and senate. and the pentagon, first as a war planner in the army, second as deputy assistant secretary of defense, and third, as reserve augmentee working special operations. and of course, i worked in the private sector with a major corporation, a commission focused on china and a think tank. most recently for two years as secretary of army. i believe this broad and diverse experience prepared me well for the position of secretary of defense. if confirmed, i intend to bring the same focus, energy, professionalism, thoughtfulness and commitment to department of defense that i brought every single day to my position as army secretary. i'm an avid supporter of national defense strategy and is clear eyed assessment of the strategic environment we find ourselves in today. growing threats posed by great power competitors like china and russia warrant refocus of high intensity conflict across all military services. this requires us to modernize
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our forces and capitalize on rapid technological advancement in the field such as artificial intelligence, robotics, energy and hyper sonics. we must also build robust cyber capabilities, establish the united states space force. at the same time, we must be prepared to respond to regional threats such as iran and north korea, all the while maintaining pressure on terrorist groups such as isis and al qaeda. this need to balance current readiness with modernization is the department's central challenge and will require strong leadership, open and continuous dialogue with congress, and courage to make tough decisions. if confirmed, i intend to continue advancing strategic goals set forth by my predecessors along three lines of effort. first, we will continue to build a more lethal force by increasing readiness and modernizing for the future. the goal is to deter war. this can only be done with a
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strong, modern, ready military that is unmatched in all do mains. they must see diplomacy as the best option. war with the united states will force them to bear enormous costs. second, we will continue to strengthen our alliances and attract new partners. a strong network of like minded nations willing and able to fight together is an advantage that our adversaries do not possess. at the same time, continue to press our allies and partners to contribute more equitably to our shared security as many secretaries of defense have done in the past. and third, we will reform the department beginning with the -- no reform is too small. in the army we found billions in savings by overturning hundreds of small stones that many said wouldn't make a difference. i will take the approach that bureaucratic processes shouldn't come at the expense of men and women serving around the world. the bottom line is this,
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in an era of mounting fiscal challenges and competing demands, we must seek ways to free up time, money, manpower to invest back into top priorities. lastly, as a personal priority of mine, i intend to place particular focus on well-being of soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines and families. i understand very well the impact that issues such as housing, child care have on readiness of service members. i heard it during dozens of town halls and private meetings my wife and i held at town hall over the last 20 minutes. military families are willing to make great sacrifices for the country. in return, i am committed to ensuring they're cared for properly. as promised during the confirmation hearing to become secretary of the army, if confirmed, i will approach priorities with values and behaviors proven to maximize effectiveness of any team, to act with integrity, to collaborate broadly, to treat
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others with dignity and respect, to encourage innovation, critical thinking, straight talk, to empower people and hold leaders accountable. these principles and the values we hold dearest as a profession must be lived, promoted day in and day out by leaders. chairman inhofe, member reid, members of the committee, thank again for your time and consideration today. i am truly honored to be part of the greatest military in the world. if confirmed, i will continue to work closely with this committee and the entire congress as we prepare to meet challenges that lie ahead. i am grateful for your consideration of my nomination, and i look forward to your questions. thank you. >> thank you, dr. esper. senator kaine made a couple of comments about your accompanying him to installations in this area, and i was reblinded you
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accompanied me in some of these areas also. you went beyond just the army. we were at fort sill together. we talked about housing problems and the fact that initiated, first time we heard about housing problems at tinker africa, you were aware of that. on the meeting we had, the trip together to fort sill, the thing that impressed me and fits into this hearing today is how well you communicated with troops in the field. you were one of them. at that time i thought, you know, you were really the guy for this job. >> thank you, sir. >> when you were with us in the 26 -- no, in june, you were actually the acting secretary of defense at that time, you said that the u.s. national defense strategy remains our guiding document. this is significant. this hasn't happened before. we had a hearing about this.
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this was put together by democrats, republicans, people who were top military people in this country. no one at any time since we adopted this thing well over a year ago has complained it wasn't done properly. so at that time you talked about why it was important and also prior to that, in march when you were acting -- when you were the army secretary, you, in response to one of my questions, you said, quote, senator, you made a very important point. you said what we do need, we need a budget. the russians are modernizing, must build the next generation of combat systems now before russia and china outpace us with modernization programs. we know that that's what is happening today. by the way, secretary mattis, i appreciated the comment that senator kaine made about him,
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those were my sentiments also, but he agreed with that, that this is what we need to be doing and how important it was. in the opening statement i talked about the fact that the document that appeared or the article that appeared in "the economist" showed in the same period of time that we were cutting our military spending by 25%, china was increasing theirs by 83%. you know, people out there don't know this. they don't realize that we have competition that's out there that we have not had before. when i see this, i look and i think that we have done really -- we have done a better job, but we need to do a better job than we have done before. general milley, only 5% of army brigades were at the highest level of readiness. now it is 50%. that's a huge increase.
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we're in the right area and we're moving the right direction. anyway, in terms of the budget, this is your opportunity to weigh in on this, what we have to do in order to do the job needs to be done at this time, considering that we have peer competitors we never had before, and so i would like to have you use whatever time you need to use to talk about the significance of the budget deal that we're going to have to have. >> thank you, mr. chairman. first of all, i fully share your remarks, and the threat posed to us over the long run by china cannot be overstated. for those reasons i fully support the president's budget, the need for a two-year budget deal, and the need to have authorizations and appropriations bills passed on time. i cannot overstate how important it was for dod last year to receive the budget on time. it really allowed us to
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accelerate the readiness gains we made, to advance our modernization efforts and do all those things that the national defense strategy tells us to do. >> that's good. also we asked general milley when he was in to classify the areas that we have, highlight the areas where we need to catch up. and he mentioned nuclear triad modernization, space, artificial intelligence, hypersonics. you touched on this in your opening statement. is there anything you want -- what would be your priorities in this list or should this be a longer list than it is? >> well, this may sound unconventional, but it goes to senator reed's first point, if confirmed, need to staff up top tier of the pentagon soonest. you talk about the bigger picture issues you mentioned, clearly modernization, triad is top priority.
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i think we need to fully develop domain of space as war funding domain. we need to work on cyberspace of course, there are a wide range of conventional capabilities we need to improve and many hinge on core technologies we can speak about through the course of the hearing. >> thank you, dr. esper. senator reed. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman, and mr. secretary, thank you. in your opening remarks you mention the continuing tensions between the united states and iran. secretary of defense robert gates made a statement. you think the war on iran is hard, war with iran would be -- wage terror attacks, dramatically worse situation in iraq and elsewhere is hard to overestimate. do you agree with secretary gates' assessment. >> i agree we do not want war with iran. we are not seeking war with iran. we need to get back on the
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you diplomatic channel. >> that raised the obvious question, how do we take steps that mitigate escalation leading to kinetic activity. how do you do that? >> a couple of things. first of all, what we try to do is try to foreclose the opportunity for any miscalculation and misunderstanding by developing a concept, which i understand we have set up a meeting to brief this committee on her soon called operation sentinel where we do passive patrolling, if you will, in the strait of hormuz, gulf of amman to deter provocative attacks. at the same time, from highest levels of government and the president himself, he said we'll meet any time anywhere without precondition to discuss issues with the iranians to get us on the diplomatic path. >> you think that diplomatic path is the most thoughtful way to proceed? >> diplomacy always is.
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>> thank you. mr. secretary, you will likely be required in the course of your duties to opine with regard to section 2808 with respect to the use of emerging funding already appropriated for critical military partners to be used in the case most obviously presented to you for a border wall construction. legal requirement is that it must be necessary to support the use of the armed forces along the border with mexico. given the fact this is a law enforcement operation, given the fact that it is not something typically in the operational spectrum of military forces to build walls across a border, how can you make that justification? >> that's something i need to take a look at if confirmed, senator. obviously we'll look at the advice provided by chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. in many ways, the operations dod is providing at the border in support of dhs is not unlike
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what we have done in the past over multiple administrations over many years. in many ways, it's one of the things we do, whether with reco or puerto rico, flooding along the mississippi. it's one of those things we provide to other parts of the government and the american people. >> one area is you would be diverting funds from projects you've come to us that are said are critical to the military posturing and operations for something that is long-term. this is a multi-year project. this is not something like a flood where you have to rush in with forces immediately within hours, literally. >> right. >> there is a distinction where i think you should not miss that distinction. >> i agree, and obviously as we proceed, if confirmed i'd want to have discussions with you and be transparent as we move through that process. >> let me return to my comment.
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i would hope that you could commit to us publicly that you would immediately take a thorough review and that you would revise the memorandums that we could operate in a custom i think this committee has done over many, many years far proceeding mien the tenure in the committee. >> i will commit to that. i spent my formative years in washington d.c. on capitol hill. i know why congress is article one. i know you have important oversight functions. >> you mentioned the importance of allies and partners, mr. secretary, and there's been i think obviously a discordance between some of the statements which the administration made with regard to nato, for example, with regard to our relationships with many of our allies, the south koreans, japanese, do you think we can improve not only the rhetoric but the substance of our relationship with our allies? >> there's always room for
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improvement with relationship with our allies. on june 25th th, i took off in a plane to meet with our allies. one of the messages i want to carry forth is this administration is in my personal commitment to nato as somebody who served in nato that our article 5 commitments were ironclad and we'd build to strengthen the partnerships and relationships. >> the final question, in your dialogue with our colleagues in nato, did they raise the issue of the apparent discordance and diminishment of the relationships between our allies? was that a significant point they raised? >> actually, i don't recall that coming up. we discussed a range of issues whether it involved operations in afghanistan, how we're strengthening alliance. that point did not come up. >> thank you very much, mr. secretary. >> thank you. senator webber. >> secretary esper, thank you for your testimony and service.
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it's obvious from listening to both sides of the aisle here from my colleague senator kaine and also chairman enof that spaced on their direct observation and work with you, both of them think you're an all-star. i tend to agree. i think your testimony has been right on, and you're going to need to be an all star because of the challenges that senator enhoff has mentioned. let me also tell you something that you already know. on this committee chairman enhoff and ranking member reid work together as a team. there are some nuances in how they approach things but the way they directed this committee in the writing of the ndaa, i think -- i hope sends a message to the rest of the world, to those adversaries that senator enhoff was referring to in the
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article from the economist, that we intend to give you and the admirals and generals that will be working with you the tools you need to meet the challenges. you, our ndaa which has been passed by the senate is at $750 bhl. the ndaa passed by the house, $733 billion. a difference of 17 billion. we're not mathematicians up here, but senator fisher and i have been talking with staff. that's about 2.3% difference. and -- so i would say to my colleagues and say to you, if the house and senate cannot in the next few days work out the difference between 2.3% in our versions, and agree on the two-year budget caps number, then shame on us. we're not doing our duties. we are the article one branch of
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the government. we're the only people on the face of the earth, only people in the country that could do this. and we must negotiate it with the president of the united states. the secretary of the treasury has been tasked the negotiating with the house and senate leaders on this, but i hope you'll raise your voice and be a strong advocate. i hope at this very moment you're raising your voice. we need a budget number this month. we get to september, we get to september 15th, we start having brinksmanship, and uncertainty about what we're going to do with this budget number. that becomes a problem. and thank you for talking about the things we're going to need to modernize. we -- we're trying to bring our
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military up to date and then to look to the future, and so you mentioned on page three of your testimony artificial intelligence robotics directed energy, hyper sonics. robust cyber capabilities. if we go to a month-long cr, perish the thought that we would go to a one-year cr. we go to a month-long cr october 1st, what does it do to the things you've listed on page three of your testimony as prioritys? >> every day that a cr continues is one less day that we can invest in future capabilities and future technologies. because a cr, of course, prohibits new starts. and we are stuck funding, if you will, legacy technologies or legacy equipment. that's in terms of modernization. if you look at manning, equipping, same problems. it gets worse and worse over
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time. in many ways you can't make it up. >> it's different from level funding. if somehow we could wave a magic wand and have level funding with an appropriation bill, that's darcht matter but a cr doesn't do that. >> i think anybody who served in business will tell you steady p p predi predictable funding is more efficient than looking at inconsistent and unpredictable funding coming your way. >> what does a cr, even a temporary cr do to senator kaine's shipyards? what does it do to military and defense manufacturing as a whole during that period? and does it save us money? >> well, again, in -- for a new start program under cr new starts are prohibited. you would not be able to launch a new program. of course, you speak to the shipyards. you typically have lower levels of funding. it affects operations and
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maintenance accounts. you face challenges with regard to maintenance. the challenges go on and on. you cannot make that up. instead you are trapped in a situation where you're likely spending fewer dollars on legacy modernization priorities. >> on a scale of 1 to 10, how important is it that we get this budget number? >> 11. >> thank you. you're no mathematician either. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you. and thank you, dr. esper for your willingness to consider taking on this very difficult challenge at this critical time. secretary, we have the opportunity to visit last week. i appreciated you coming in to talk to me. one of the things we discussed was the challenge of con tam nation. one of them is former military
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installation in new hampshire. the air force has been quite responsive to the challenges of that contamination affecting the drinking water for the city of portsmou portsmouth. it's becoming a serious issue across the country. if confirmed, can you commit to taking a stronger more proactive stance to address p-fas contamination issues? >> absolutely. this is an important issue. we need to own it. and i don't know if we have a task force, for example, in place, but if confirmed, that is something i would look at doing to make sure all the services are coordinated and we're approaching the problem in an aggressive and wholistic way. >> thank you very much. another challenge that we're seeing in new hampshire is with the kc-46 refueling tankers. it was indicated they were pushing back the retirement of 28 legacy tankers.
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and expressed concern about the costs associated with this decision. i recently learned that as many as 121 active duty airmen who have been there to support those new refueling tankers who are going to arrive at p's were one of the first national guard bases to receive the tankers. they've been moved to continue to fly at other air bases to remain to support the tanker operation capabilities that need to remain in service. so if confirmed, can you commit to review of the kc-46 program and the second and third order effects that we're now seeing as a result of these delays? >> absolutely, senator. i think in the wake of our meeting, i understand you received a letter from air and mobility command committing those will not be moved and in due course, the increase number of builts. the big issue i need to work on is what is the timing at which
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the aircraft return, and to me that's how i look at it. we've worked together on things. i think you know i'll follow through. >> thank you very much. i appreciate that. the 2019 worldwide threat assessme assessment. knows our adversaries will look to the 2020 elections as an opportunity to advance their interests. you mentioned in the opening statement the challenges with cyber capabilities that we have. the report specifically mentions that russia's social media efforts will continue to focus on aggravating social and racial tensions. undermining trust and authorities and criticizing perceived anti-russian politicians. can you talk about whether the department of defense is working on deterrent cyber technology and researching techniques to respond to adversaries like russia interested in affecting our elections? >> we work as part of a whole of government approach. we have exceptional capabilities
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in our cyber command and maybe as important as our capabilities last year the administration put out a new nspm-13 which really put our cyber capabilities on a more offensive footing allowing us to lean forward. i think for those reasons, it's why you saw in the 2018 elections no issues. and it's why i think we're more and more confident that the 2020 elections will also be unfettered, will you will. i understand we gave you a briefing the house and the senate. hopefully that was reassuring. this is something we must stay on top of. the integrity of our elections is something that cannot be influenced or threatened. we are committed to more than playing our fair share in that regard. >> well, thank you. i very much appreciate that. both the chairman and ranking member mentioned the openings that exist within the department of defense. you and i also discussed that. and your commitment to try and address that as soon as possible. have you discussed with the
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president or the white house the need to cooperate in filling those positions as expeditiously as possible and the need to fully vet any nominees who are offered? >> i met yesterday before i handed over the secretary's ship to secretary spencer. we went down the list of the 14 current slots that did not have a senate confirmed person and talked about each. obviously i urged them to help us push folks through. we have a few folks that will be coming here before the committee or on the executive calendar right now. i have due diligence in the pentagon to make sure we recruit the right people for the four or five seats that still need to be filled. there's a range of responsibilities and i did have that meeting last week with the white house to discuss that. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, mr. secretary for your service to this country and thank you for your willingness to continue to serve as the
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secretary of defense. in our meeting last week you made one point that i wanted to touch on again. in a strategic environment defined by great power competition the most effective method of preventing great power conflict and that is our nuclear deterrence, is of growing importance. do you want to elaborate on that? i recall that the global zero report from several years ago arguing that we should reduce our nuclear forces because, quote, 9/11 exposed the lack of effa si and the irrelevance of nuclear forces in dealing with 21st century threats, end quote. i don't think that argument was valid then, and i certainly don't believe that it is valid now. what are your thoughts? >> you know, senator, i had the privilege of work on these issues on capitol hill. i'm convinced after studying them for quite some time that a nuclear deterrent is essential
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to our security. it's a top priority. it's kept the peace for 70 years now. so i think the important part is to ensure that we have a modern, effective, credible, and safe and reliable deterrent. and so that's why we need to look at each leg of the triad. each provides certain capabilities that compliment one and other. it's important to our safety and security. >> earlier this we year we heard from the undersecretary who stressed that we have preachrea point where delay of modernization is no longer than option. do you agree with her characterization that we don't have any margin of error in any of the programs, any leg of the pry y triad and we must move forward with that modernization? >> it's clear we do. each leg is in a different status. we need to modernize the gbsd,
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obviously we have plans to modernize the ohio class submarines and then obviously there is a program underway already to modernize our long-range stealth bombers. >> we saw with the house ndaa some of their concern with the gbsd. you mentioned that as an important point that we cannot let up on that modernization. is that correct? >> that's correct. they are an important leg of the triad. they provide some capabilities that other legs of the triad do not. for those reasons, i think it's important that we maintain that. >> you were recently in brussels, and you had a meeting with other nato defense ministers and i know one of the topics that you discussed was the fate of the inf treaty. and as i'm sure you're aware, critics of the administration continue to promote the narrative that the president's decision to withdraw from that treaty which has failed solely
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because of russia's actions, that's created disunity in our nato alliance. was that your impression? >> no, senator, it was not. i'd say a few things. i've worked these issues in the past with regard to arms control. russia has cheated or is cheating on treaties. i give the obama administration high marks for calling them out and trying to work this, and obviously secretary mattis worked this issue as well. i think the inf treaty. bilaterally and in the big room sessions, i was really impressed by the fact that everybody was unified and agreed that we cannot stand by while russia arms itself with intermediate range missiles, ssc 8s that are
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nuclear tipped. we agreed on a path forward and we also agreed publicly, i think i mentioned it publicly that we encourage russia to come back into compliance the united states will remain in compliance with our obligations until august 2nd. after that we will pursue what's in our best interest. >> what are our next steps in response to russia's violation? >> we obviously need to prepare air missile defense systems to defeat the interrange missiles. the army has been working on that. the other part is to make sure that we can develop our own conventional inf range missiles to deal not just with russia but china. most of china's inventory, we need to make sure we have the capability to respond should we god forbid get in a fight with them one day. >> thank you, mr. secretary.
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>> welcome, dr. esper, and thank you for our service to our nation. we haven't had a chance to visit yet, but i hope before the vote we'll have an opportunity to get together. i hope also that you'll have an opportunity to visit connecticut, particularly our sub base and shipyard which is the submarine capital of the world and perhaps stop by rhode island while you're there. >> if confirmed you have my commitment, and maybe in august as soonest. >> wonderful. and that reflects, i think a commitment that you've reiterated to our superiority in the under sea do main as well as continued spire yourty in the air which involves the f-35 and our helicopter force. and i notice you're nodding for the record. >> oh, i'm sorry. yes. i do. i mean, we need to sustain the f-35 program. it's the world's premier 5th
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generation fighter. it provides extraordinary capabilities. you mentioned rotary wing. the army has a top priority. and there are exciting opportunities to give us unprecedented range and payload and what not. the third thing you mentioned was we have to modernize the submarine force, the boomers. i've had the privilege in the past of being on those vessels. they're impressive, but they need to be modernized to deal with the challenges we face today and in the future. >> i want to ask you about a topic i raised with secretary then acting secretary shanahan about dod expenditures at trump branded properties in response to my question to him, the department provided a list of expenditures made by civilian and uniform department of defense personnel at trump properties between january 20th th, 2017 and june 14th, 2017. the total is about $147,000
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during just those six months. the pentagon spent over $36,000 at the trump national golf club in palm beach. over $35,000 at the trump hotel las vegas. over $16,000 at the trump hotel ocean club panama among many other lodging and restaurant expenses at trump properties. i know you're not a lawyer, but you no doubt understand that the emoluments clause forbids the president receiving money from these type of expenditures by government personnel that enrich him as the owner of those properties. i would like a commitment from you that you will provide all of the additional information about official expenditures at these properties from 2017 to the
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present, and that you will commit to providing also additional information about the official purpose of these government travel expenses if any. and, in fact, that you will go further and declare these properties to be off limit establishments as the pentagon does for military personnel when they are spending taxpayer money. this money is taxpayer money. the expenditures were put on the government travel charge card. and i think the american people would have a lot of reservations about this practice. >> yes, sir. we'll certainly look into the issue and provide as much transparency as you can. i'm not a lawyer, but your request sounds like something which i should have a kons lor with me. >> i'm asking that you commit to provide the information. not for your legal opinion. >> i am committed. and this also is an important chance to say one thing.
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it is very important to me to continue the long-held tradition that dod not -- remain apolitical, and so my commitment is to make sure that we conduct ourselves that way so i will certainly look into that information and look into what you're saying. i want to make sure we're conducting ourselves in a professional and ethical manner at all times. >> i would add in response to the answer that you gave to my colleague about the threat from russian interference in our elections, i am by no means as comforted as you seem to be by the information available to us about the response so far by our government. it's a whole of government response, but i think that threat is real, urgent, increasing and so far we've been doing more but still way short of what is necessary, and that is my impression from the briefing that you refer to.
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i'd like your commitment that you will provide us more information. >> absolutely. and i did not mean to convey that i'm comfortable with where we stand. i think this is going to be an ongoing threat for some time. obviously russia is the principle issue. there are other countries who would want to influence or change our elections. so i think we need to be on guard and vigilant. i cannot attest today that 2020 will be flawless, but like i said, i think we're in a much better posture in 2018. i think we addressed the problem adequately. we always will have a lot of work to do because people want to influence our elections. >> and one last question. will you commit to recuse yourself from involvement in any decisions involving raytheon in light of your past involvement? i know you committed through november. >> i'm fully committed to living up to my ethics, laws, regulations, my pledges. >> thank you.
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>> thank you for your long history of service to the country. continuing with your time in the congress and at the pentagon and now over the past two years as army secretary. thanks for continuing to serve the country in this new capacity. i want to talk briefly about a point that senator blumenthal read. you were not in government but you were in the industry at raytheon. this is obviously not without precedent. bill clinton's secretary of defense william perry did time in the service as did many other leaders like frank kendall of the obama administration. how many years were you working these issues starting with your time as a young cadet up to the time you left government service did you spend before going to raytheon? >> i have spent since departing my hometown at age 18, 37 years. easily 25 of those have been in public service.
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>> dedicated to the defense of this nation? >> dedicated to the defense of the nation, advancing our naeshl security. it's been my life's work. >> thank you. how long were you at raytheon? >> 6 1/2 years. >> and i would say they have a large presence in south arkansas as do most major defense contracts and many other defense contracts. raytheon does a lot to contribute to our national security as well. i'm very proud of those arkansans you're helping whether they're raytheon or other defense companies but they're a for profit competition and they're in competition with other companies. have you fully divested? >> i have in accordance with all my ethics obligations and requirements? . >> you have no ongoing stake in the performance of raytheon? >> no. the only thing that is listed on my financial disclosure form is
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money i earned which is out there, but it's nothing that i can -- that they can -- that can be influenced, if you will. >> not contingence on their performance strong or poor? talk a little bit more about the recusal issue. it's one thing for, say, a deputy assistant secretary of defense to recuse himself from issues. it's another thing for the secretary of defense. there are certain issues of such national import that it's hard for anyone besides the secretary to make. could you talk about how your recusal from issues related to raytheon will work? >> yes, sir, i have a screening process. anything that comes before me written or briefings, that that would be flagged and screened to make sure i remain compliant. i would remain in constant contact with our ethics pers personn personnel. they're professionals. i also found during secretary of the army and clearly with this promotion if confirmed be even
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higher that i really dealt all the time with broad policy matte matters, strategy. i never got into the business of picking programs or things like that. i'm fully confident of what my only dpaobligations. i've lived an ethical life. i'm going to continue to live by the ethics, whether it involves raytheon or any company. it's my commitment to the nation's security and the men in women in uniform that drives me. not anything else. >> i know you have and i know you'll continue to live that ethical example for all the men and women of the department of defense when you're the secretary of defense. i'll note although this is often perceived as an issue for both republican and democratic officials, members of this committee know that in some cases you tend to be too hard on former associates and employers because of the kind of perception that is sometimes
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raised when you leave industry and go into government. of course, there's lots of advantages of having that kind of industry experience as well. and in my closing moments i want to ask you about that. this committee has prioritized opening the pentagon up to smaller companies, not the giant defense contracts, especially when it comes to leading technology. i have to say that's had some limited success. how do you plan to take advantage of your private sector experience to break down the barriers and how do you plan to make it an attractive place for startups and firms that don't have large very large organization with decades of experience of dealing with government account contracting and acquisition at the pentagon? >> my experience is that in many ways you find your greatest innovation, your greatest entrepreneur ship is happening at the smaller levels. the small shops, the small invo nay or thes creating incredible technologies. we put in austin texas to
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capitalize on the folks coming up with the cutting edge ideas. my time at raytheon i spent a lot of time traveling and meeting not just with members of the company but also their supply chain. that's integral. it's fragile. we talked about crs. often the folks who pay the price of the cancellation of contracts or the lack of a new start are folks way at the end of the supply chain who don't have the means to sustain themselves. i'm conscious based on my time in business of what it means to the supply chain, how you have to make sure you nurture them. the robustness drives innovation and also ensures you have the competition that drives down cost and drives up performance. >> thanks, secretary esper. i guess you won't be getting a new title after the senate votes to confirm you, but you'll have a new job. >> thank you.
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>> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary esper, thank you for your service to our country. in 2014 secretary hagel issued new guidance for upgrading certain discharges to honorable. the haguel policy directed review boards to give liberal consideration to the possibility that ptsd contributed to a veteran's loss of their honorable discharge. that's why i introduced legislation to codify the principles of this policy into law. the fairness for veterans act was included as section 535 of the fiscal year. and i recently sent a letter to the department of defense to get an update on the law. i think you'd agree that troops that are suffering from mental trauma associated with their service should not have their records tarnished over an episode of misconduct that may be related to the trauma that they're suffering from. my question to you is can i get
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your assurance this law will be executed as intended under your leadership if confirmed and i can get your commitment to keeping congress informed of the law's implementation. >> as you described it, it makes sense. from my time and uniform, i spent my time in war. i know the impacts. things like that go a long way in signaling that we understand these things happen. that damage harm is not just physical. it can be mental, and that it also goes a long way to us addressing any sigmatization with regard to mental health issues. >> i'm hearing from some of my constituents the wait times of over 12 months for a decision to appeal are occurring. and i'd like you to look into what the department needs including support from congress to expedite the decisions of status upgrades and hope to get your commitment. >> the bureaucracy is terrible. we need to go after it hard. particularly in matters involving life and health and those things. we just -- people can't wait for 12 months to get something like
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this addressed. you have any commitment to go after the bureaucracy on that as well. >> great. i appreciate that. secretary, it's a quote from secretary mattis, his letter of resignation on december 20th th of 2018. he addressed it to president trump and said i'm going to quote this. because you have the right to have a secretary of defense whose views are better aligned with yours on these and other subjects, i believe it's right for me to step down from my position. in his resignation letter he emphasized the value of alliances and the true value to the united states and of the international order. let me quote again from his letter. he said it must be conducive to our security, prosperity and values and we are strengthened in this effort by the solidarity of our alliances. end of quote. these principles, of course, are difficult to put a price on, but they were clearly essential to
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secretary mattis and something that he was willing to resign as secretary of defense. so my question to you is tell me a little bit about your view on the importance of the u.s.-led international order to support our security, prosperity and values and would you be a secretary of defense views more aligned with secretary mattis or president trump? >> well, senator, you know, as i said in my opening statement, as i messaged to the field on my first day as acting secretary, the note i sent to the field said i fully support the national defense strategy including building aliebss and strengthening our partnerships. i realize the importance of it. the international rules based order in the wake of world war ii is the order that has ensured prosperity and security for 75 years. i'm fully committed to that. i think that's the one thing that's under threat from russia and certainly china. china wants to reorder the global order. they want to do everything from
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replace institutions to replace the dollar. and so i'm fully committed to that. i see the big picture, if you will, and that's how i commit these problems. it's how i grew up addressing these problems. >> is it safe to say you're more closely aligned to views of america sayre mattis? >> i don't know where you pick between the two, but clearly i share secretary mattis's views andi and i've expressed that policy. >> is there an issue that would run counter to your values and principles, would you be willing to resign if it ran counter to your principals? >> my time in the army, i grew up if you're asked to do anything illegal or unethical, that's the point you have to consider resignation? >> you'd be willing to do that? >> absolutely.
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>> us want to thank you for your service to our country, to your family, i recognize that this is one of those challenging times in which you have tried to fill a couple of different positions all at the same time. but your work and your background makes you qualified for the position that we're considering today. i want to ask a couple questions here with regard to that background which i think helps, but i'm not sure that you've had an opportunity to share with the public. there has been some concern expressed about your time working for raytheon. i'm curious, though, if you can discuss the insights that you've developed and how this period of your life would inform your decision making should you be confirmed as secretary of defense. >> senator, my years in business really gave me a breadth of experience and knowledge about what makes industry tick, what
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motivates them. as the previous question we had from senator cotton, i got a rich understanding of the supply chain how important it is and how fragile. i understand well what motivates companies in order to grow and change and adapt. and you also get a good understanding of how they organize to address work. you understand their frustrations with dod bureaucracy and where the possible fixes may be. and so all those things and more, i think enabled me as army secretary to look hard at all of our programs, and to make sure that we got them in the right place. i will tell you of the 19, 18 or 19 or 20 major defense programs we had, nearly all of them, but maybe one or two, were meeting cost schedule and performance because myself and others like under secretary mccarthy had brought to the table a business background that helped us understand. we leveraged that to stop production or stop acceptance of certain items and all those
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things we leveraged to make sure we got to the war fighter the tools and weapons and equipment they need and tried to be good stewards of the taxpayer dollars at the same time. >> let's go to cyber space for a minute. we fight not just in the air, on land, on sea. under sea. space. but cyber space as well. and you have worked as a secretary of the army during a time in which cyber has become part of the focal point with regard to our defense strategies. there is a clear understanding that we can always do better, and that we divide this out in both defensive and offensive capabilities. you've received some new tools and some new capabilities in the last couple of months. you've got a new presidential directive which replaced ppd 20 which allows you some latitude.
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you've also got section, i believe it's 1632 of the national defense authorization act of 2018 where you've provided -- secretary spencer of the navy was criticized for laying out a very timely report in which he identified all of the major challenges that the department of the navy has concerning cyber activity. i think he could have used any one of the different departments and come up with the same result. could you share with us your thoughts about what our needs are and how serious the threats are with regard to cyber operation, cyber security both defensive and offensive capabilities and where you see that going with regard to cyber and its connection with the rest of the different domains? >> senator, clearly cyber is a domain of warfare.
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we're constantly battling countries such as russia and china who are trying to do everything from stealing information, and put out disinformation about the united states. i think on the defensive side we're vulnerable whether it's in the government or private sector. you asked about my private sector. it's also vulnerable. on the offensive side, we have a lot of capabilities but the policy had not caught up until the passage of nspm 13. more needs to be done. we need to be vigilant. and i'm talking at the strategic level. it also applies at the tactical level as well. the army has done remarkable work, if you will, before preceding me in terms of standing up army cyber command. creating a cyber officer core and employing the tools at a tactical and operational level. we have to get used to the fact that this is a new domain of
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warfare that we'll probably be in constant conflict with countries below the threshold of kinetic conflict. that's the way the world will be. we have to make sure that we retain cutting edge capabilities and over match in that area. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >>. >> secretary, i want to start and say i appreciate your focus on technologies like artificial intelligence, hyper sonics, directed energy. these are our path to real offset advantages over our adversaries. these are the path to effective deterrents. i appreciate that and look forward to working with you on those issues. a little closer to home, at least my home, i was quite pleased to learn that the air force base is one of the three finalists chosen as a location candidate location for a
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permanent formal training unit for the f-16. as you know since 2017 holaman has been home to a temporary training unit providing an unmatched location for producing new pilots and shaping our combat air power. as the air force makes its final decision, i would simply ask that you ensure that their selection considers the air space, the existing facilities, the existing infrastructure, and the very supportive community and the years of successful training that's already there at the existing holaman air force base. >> i will. >> thank you. i want to return to an issue that was brought up. unfortunately new mexico is also suffering from some quite severe impacts environmental impacts caused by hazardous chemical runoff at our military installations, and i want to make clear we are very proud of our military bases in new
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mexico. but jet fuel and other things have had real and adverse impacts on local communities and in particular on the water tables that they rely on in a dry environment like new mexico. water is everything with regard to community and economic development and for example a local dairy farmer outside of cannon air force base lost the entirety of his family business because of the contamination in the water table. so i would just urge that the department of defense make remediation of these types of contaminants a top priority. not just pfas but also jet fuel. fixing these wrongs is not only right, but it's what dod owes the military families and the communities that support them day in and day out. i would just ask that you commit to me and to this committee that you will make contamination
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whether it's jet fuel or pfas or other things we've created along the way as we've done the hard work a top priority for the department. >> i do, senator. >> i want to ask one more question here. according to the report on effects of changing climate to the dod published in january of this year, climate -- i'll quote this. quote, climate effects lead to increased maintenance and repair requirements for training and testing lands and associated infrastructure and equipment, end quote. and i would simply ask if you concur with that statement. >> i'm sorry. can you repeat that last part again? >> sure. it said climate effects lead to training and testing lands and associated infrastructure and equipment. >> that's probably true. one of the issues we experienced in the army as we looked at the impacts of climate change was in the western bases was the
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impacts on the installation. i'm sure it's true with new mexico as well. >> do you think there are ways in which dod can be more energy resilient as we move forward? do you have specific thoughts? >> we do. i'll speak for the army. we do have a project at fort drum in hawaii. we have a multi-fuel project in hawaii to make sure we had resiliency and could provide power to our military there for an extended period of time. it's something we need to build into it. we rely heavily on energy. energy is not cheap, and we need to conserve as much as we can. >> last week during his confirmation meeting, general milley pensioned the importance of artificial intelligence to dod modernization. i mentioned several technologies. can you share your feelings about the importance of technologies like ai directed energy, as well as hyper sonics
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in maintaining the advantage that we have historically had? >> yes. you mentioned several top technologies. i share those hyper sonics, autono autonomy. it's one reason why in the army we restructured our rapid capabilities office to be the rapid capabilities and critical technologies office. different people put different things to number one. for me it's artificial intelligence. i think artificial intelligence will likely change the character of warfare. i believe whoever masters it first will dominate on the battle field for many years. it gets to not just how we can think more quickly and work awe on this mousily. i think it's a game changer. that's why in the army we stood up an artificial intelligence task force. we have to get there first. whoever gets there first will dominate for many years. >> thank you, chairman.
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>> mr. secretary, thank you for your lifetime of public service and being willing to step up at this point in your career for this huge responsibility. it seems to me the world has never been more dangerous than it is right now. five threats across five domains. you've talked about space and cyber. i want to talk about the rise of china and the relationship our allies play in that. i want to clear up one thing. a lot of people say we spend $750 billion on the military. we have now for the first time thanks to you and others our first audited dod november of last year. we're gaining great insight how to save money. if we go to a one-year cr, there's money they don't want to spend but they would be obliged to if we end up in a one-year cr. today china spends if you adjust
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it for purchasing power on party, almost on parity with the united states. and they're focussed on their naval forces. their belt road initiative, they have 36 ports in africa. ports in south africa they've made loans to. my question in strategic relationship with secretary pompeo, how do we deter china in a world that we see what their interests are in the west pacific, south china sea as well as africa and southern asia. how do we use our allies in the relationship we've had since world war ii to deter china and russia in this environment? >> yes, you took the answer from me. first, we have to have a whole of government approach. it's not just od. it's hhs and doj and everybody has to be in on this. that is how the chinese approach it, and you're right. we have to really muster our
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allies and partners to do the same. in asia many countries over there are quite concerned about china's influence. it is a hedgeamon. it's something we need to work aggressively on, and if not, we're going to find ourselves. the chinese are patient and strategic. if you go back to their greatest leader with a famous saying that said something like bide your time, hide your actions, play the long game. they are playing the long game. we're playing the short game. i think that's what's so important about the nds. it points us to have our own long game so we can be at the right point in time. we don't want to be adversaries with china. we want to be competitors but we have to address the security concerns first. >> as you consider this role and as the president chose you, it seems to me there are three big
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areas of areas to consider. one is your commitment to the national defense strategy. are you today committed and satisfied that the national defense strategy will serve the interest of not only america but of the free world going forward? >> absolutely, senator. what really impressed me about the defense strategy is for the first time ever it recognized china as a strategic competitor that could be an adversary if we're not careful. i was in the senate in 2001 when we debated china's entry into the world trade organization. we granted the authority. we bought into if we let them into the institutions they will become more benign, a normal actor on the world stage. they proved us wrong. >> well, in a book 100 year marathon, we got it wrong. we believed him. i lived over there, and i can tell you we got it wrong. we now know from the made in china 2025, their initiatives
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what they are to achieve. in my experience with the chinese culture is they never tell you, and this goes back, that they never tell you what they're going to do unless they've made a decision that you don't have the wherewithal or will to stop them. do you agree. >> yes. >> you have to have a close relationship with the secretary of state. it sounds like you have a long background. >> we have a common background. >> the third thing is i think we have to have a commitment that over the long-term that we're not turning into a militaristic country. president eisenhower set the stage by paying down the debt of world war ii and keeping us from becoming a military state. can you tell the rest of the world that that's not where we're headed with the u.s. secretary of defense and the answer you gave earlier, would you double down, and explain how
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you can transcend both worlds? >> i agree. i was going to say the greatest power we have the is the power of our values and culture. people around the world aspire to come to this country for those two things alone. that's why they line up in consulates in 18 0 countries around the world to come to this country. they know we believe in freedom and democracy and individual rights and all that will be protected. and that's the power that we have that we have to leverage is the power of our values and our way of life and our government. >> thank you, sir. thank you, mr. chairman. >> welcome, mr. secretary. thank you for your service and your willingness to continue to serve. you made a statement that i hadn't thought about before. our adversaries don't have allies. we have allies. >> that's right. >> that's one of our asymmetrical advantages that we should maintain. it seems to me. you concur, i assume? >> i con cure. as i also note, good alliances
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are made of strong capability partners. that's why when i went to nato to tell them how much i support the alliance, i reminded them they also have article three commitments to build their own capacity and capabilities. that means living up to what i thought the obama administration did a good job at, advancing the well summit initiative that everybody commit at least 2% of gdp to defense. we're far away from that right now. but a successful collective security depends on everybody doing their fair share. >> absolutely but the bottom line is that we have allies. they don't, and that's an advantage that we should maintain? >> not just maintain. we should keep growing it. we should expand our networks and alliances. >> and in his nonintroduction senator kaine mentioned the strongest message of a book that has mistakes and miscuulation leading to war. i saw a map of military assets in the persian gulf and the
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strait of hormuz. there are so many opportunity for mistaken miscalculation on both sides. do you have any specific thoughts, strategies,ic tacticso avoid a miscalculation that could lead to a military confrontation with iran? >> yes. in fact, the same thing came to mind when he mentioned the book. miscalculation in sayre ya row is led to war. the one idea from a dodd perspective was developing the operation sental where we work with the allies, mostly our allies and partners provide monitoring of the strait of hormuz, the persian gulf, provide escorts and centuries to put ourselves in a place where we deter a provocation or miscalculation. no better way was it most demonstrated in recently where an irgs water craft approached a
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british owned vessel carrying oil. it was -- and they likely would have either assaulted it or brought it into the iranian shore and created an international incident were it not for a british warship intervening. the simple thing of appearing on the scene and putting the warship putting itself between the irgc boats and the immersion vessel was enough to deter something that could have escalated out of control. that's something we envision so we don't get into a military fight. we push it into the diplomatic field? >> do we have any opportunity to communicate our intention in my concern is to one side making -- what they perceive to be a defensive move, the other side sees as an offensive move. that's how we make mistakes and get on escalation. >> in my short 21 days i was not
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made aware of any direct contacts. but i know we have communicated them through allies. >> i was going to suggest there may be some communications through allies in the region just to avoid, again, a miscalculation. >> i believe transparency and communication is always good in these types of situations. again, there is no misunderstanding about one's intentions. >> changing the subject, we've talked a lot today about china. a lot about russia. i'm concerned, and i'm seeing signs of connections between china and russia. cooperation. is this a concern and do you see this as a sort of national strategy 2.0 dealing with a combined adversary. >> in some places they are coordinating. in some places they are cooperating. in other places it's just a bunch of interests, and interestingly in some places they are competing.
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i know we have talked about the arctic. >> i'm surprised you talked about the arctic. but go ahead. >> shocking. >> it is shocking. that's one area -- >> did you quote billy mitchel? i'm sorry. go ahead. >> not yet. >> fahrenbach. the arctic is one place where russia does not want china. >> china recently declared itself a near arctic nation. >> i guess 900 miles constitutes near. >> right. on the same planet. but this is a concern, is it not, of linking between the two? >> yes, sir, i mean, absolutely. absolutely. that's why we need to work carefully with our allies and partners in the context of the arctic, we have great allies and partners, arctic counsel who can help us in that regard ensure there's nothing there but in other areas as well we need to woork with our partners. another country i'm concerned about is egypt. we see egypt in some ways
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drifting off into that sphere. i want to make sure that we get them back. it's the largest land army arab army in the region. and they're an influencer. we have to be conscious of those facts. >> my time is up, but i assume you have similar concerns with turkey and what's going on there? >> even more so. they are a nato ally and have been a capable nato ally, but their decision on the s-400 is the wrong one, and it's disappointing. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary esper, thank you for being here. thank you to you and your wife for looking at the military housing situation. maybe i'll start there. can you give me a brief update on anything you've been tracking specifically about program changes, and some of the tenant bill of rights and things the army first started working on as
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being scaled up to the dod. >> about a month and a half ago i chaired along with invited secretary spencer and secretary wilson we sat down in the first quarterly ceo board of directors meeting with the opposing ceos and talked through a number of issues. we presented them with our draft bill of rights for feedback, and made clear that these are the things we were going to advance with regard to ensuring our service members were protected. that we wanted to standardize that across the services so that somebody moving from fort here to air base there could have the same expectation of what their rights and responsibilities were, and that our next move was to really once we nailed down the bill of rights to translate it into updated tenant leasing operations. it was a legal sense. and that's where they left it. at the same time we continued it in the army to move forward with conducting town halls and following up on any work orders. we were putting more and more people in place at each
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installation, fort brag in particular to make sure we had our own people on site to ensure that during pcs transitions that there was a third party objective person to make sure that our families weren't being weren't being taken care of and advantage. there's more and more and i think we were trying to keep the committee informed and i'm encouraged that it would be sustaining it for the long haul and that would be my commitment to this committee. >> thank you. you and i had breakfast over the pentagon a year or so ago and you were going through your strategy to review every program and determine whether or not and i'm not going to mention one of my favorites here and determine whether or not it really was the given scarce resources worth pursuing certain programs, and i think in your opening testimony you mentioned a number of these rocks that you overturned and everyone thought it wasn't worthwhile and in totality it's resulted in real savings. can you talk about that briefly? i have a couple of other questions i hope you get in. >> at the end of the day we spent 50, 60 hours going program
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by program and over 500 programs and at the end of the day we reduced, eliminated or delayed i think 186 programs and produced over $30 billion in savings and it was the shift in the legacy and the future that reflected our commitment to the national defense strategy and that's the same type of approach i hope to bring to the department if confirmed. >> okay. i'll ask you anyway. did the grass-growing program provide. i think it was killed long ago. okay. general, the reality up here and i know this is something senator purdue is very worried about. it seems almost impossible for us to bridge the divide on funding. i am very concerned that we're about to get into a posture of short-term cers. can you explain to this committee how disruptive that is to your mission and particularly in the wake of what has been a pretty good cycle over the past couple of years for reliable funding? >> yes, sir. >> and what may suffer as a result? >> yes, sir. a continued resolution, as you
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know, puts a number of limitations on what we can and cannot do. first of all, it funds the department at last year's level which is likely not enough to begin with and it prohibits things like new starts which is critical if you're trying to modernize the defense strategy and prohibits no changes in quantities for production so we're trying to rebuild our munition stocks. if we find the need to increase the number of this munition or that munition we would not be able to do it and if the money comes late you can't fill training seats in your school houses and you can't buy maintenance and repair parts to some degree and we have proposals to increase the end strength and that likely will will not be able to do that, as well. so it impacts everything we do across the world and you can't go back and fill a seat in the class and it has a direct impact on training. >> thank you. number one, i know the other
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departments have done some of the work like you did in the army and i hope you will see that identification of all programs and making tough choices go up to the dod so that you can report back some more results and the other lines of service, but i think the other thing that we have to talk about and i don't expect to get into details and response, but if we're not going to be able to end sequestration and repeal sequestration and what kind of authorities and other things we could potentially consider to lessen the impact on what i think is probably one of the worst votes that we've seen up here in modern history. so we need your feedback on that so we can weather the storm because the storm will cycle around and potentially in this congress. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chair. dr. esper. the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. >> i've not heard that before,
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but that's clever. >> it's something that i like to remind myself to not focus on smaller order problems and leave bigger ones to get worse, and that's one of the reasons why i was very happy to hear you testify earlier with respect to iran that diplomacy should be our preferred position. i am deeply worried about the escalating tensions with iran for a number of reasons including i believe an objective view with the u.s. backing out of a diplomatic deal and we would never have to look at our troops in the face and now we'll have to send you into a war and that would be very difficult and one of the other reasons that i'm worried about escalating tensions in the middle east is i think the main thing right now and general millie testified essentially this last week is the relationship between the united states and china is going to be definitive want only for our nation, but even for the world. >> i'm sorry.
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>> go ahead. >> the challenge we have is making sure the near-term challenges don't consume our commitment and the resourcing to the far greater will challenges. we can't wait 10 or 15 years. >> i very much worry against a smaller, weaker, faraway nation would take away our focus on china and china is a full-spectrum competitor. general millie was talking about and we talked in this hearing it could be air, sea, land, cyberspace and outside of the military realm, economic, trade, diplomacy. it is a full-specter competitor, and we -- full spectrum competitor and we have to focus them. let me ask you about your philosophy about this, as we focused on the soviet up onas a key threat, one of our strong assets was the network of allies beginning with truman and nato and article 5 and joint defense.
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we had partners and allies to the degree that the soviet union did not. they had satellite nations and they didn't have the same network of partners. move over, extract the lesson and let's move over into asia right now. my view of china is they do a lot of deals and they don't have allies to the same degree we do, and even though we're nations where they're doing a lot of deals and there's skepticism about china in town. we don't have the same formalized alliance structure in the indo pay com as we do in europe and maybe we don't need it. you need to do things that are right for today and want just re-create models and we have bilateral relationships and talk a little bit long term from the perspective if you were secretary, what would your thinking be about sort of the alliances in the indo pay com and how could we use those two advance our common interests? >> you covered it well. we do have alliances in asia are
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anchored bilaterally with the principle, australia, japan and korea. in a perfect world you'd expand that and bring them all together and there are historical animosities to go back to world war ii and pry tior to prevent t and continue to have alliances and partnerships and the bigger issue you mentioned and it's what concerns me is we eventually won in the cold war because russia did not have the economic might to win at the end and they were using force. they were compelling people to be in their orbit and to be part of the warsaw pact. china has great economic power and potential and they're using it. they're using it in a region to influence others and either overtly or covertly, if you will, and they're taking advantage of countries and small countries who need capital and they're putting them, getting them into debt in a way that they're able to capture strategic ports and critical
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minerals and resources, you name it. one of the biggest concerns is simply that that they will use their economic might that is only growing and it will possibly match us and probably surpass us that they will use it in i way that will pull likely partners away from us and that is the big challenge that i think we face in chino that that we didn't face in russia. >> that was a full spectrum and that wasn't the dod responsibility and the dod -- >> yes, sir. that was my response earlier. we have to leverage our u.s. aid and the departure and every department of the united states government. >> how is the dod reviewing turkey's decision on the s-400 as a disappointing acquisition decision or as a fundamental change in direction any possibly a fundamental change in the u.s.-turkey relationship? >> it's certainly disappointing. those are my words. turkey has been a longstanding nato ally, a very capable one. i think they were one of the original ally, if i think back to when the alliance formed and so it is very disheartening to
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see how they've drifted over the last several years and the view is the policy that my counterpart has confirmed defense minister is that you can either have the s-400 or the f-35. you cannot have both, but the acquisition of the s-400 fundamentally undermines the f-35 and our ability to obtain the overmatch in the skies going forward. >> thank you. thanks, mr. chair. mr. chairman, congratulations on your nomination. i look forward to supporting you. i've been very encouraged today to hear you talk about the importance in the much-needed strategic focus that it brings want just to the department, but to the nation's political leadership and hopefully across that whole of government and also about the nature of china as a strategic competitor here and now. i want to talk more about that in more detail if i could.
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if china were to seize control of taiwan, what would that mean for u.s. interests and for a free and open indo pacific more broadly. >> first of all, it would affect our obligations under the taiwan relations act of 1979. that was the first thing that came to mind when you said that. clearly, what it does is it signals contrary to what the chinese say that they're willing to use force to get their way. it's something they promised and obviously they consider china -- i'm sorry, taiwan, a part of china. there are historical ties that they say and cultural ones, but that would change the dynamics of the pacific, and it would cause concern to all of their neighbors and partners for the reasons they were discussing earlier. by the way, that's what we see playing out in the concern of hong kong these days since china assumed control of hong kong in
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1997. >> the department, rightly has said that china's fait accompli, and i've heard some argue that the only way to defeat the chinese fait accompli to expand the conflict in order to expand on china and for my own part i'm not convinced by this. this sounds like a way to impose significantly more costs on this country, more lives lost and more treasury expended whereas we could be having the chinese assault and as limited a conflict as possible. so let me just ask you, in your opinion what would it take for the fait accompli that would limit the cost and danger to americans? >> i would like to be gain far left of the fight and how do we continue to engage the chinese and encourage them as a normal nation as a responsible player
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in the realm, if you will. how would you restrict our competition with them in the economic realm and how do we solve problems. >> we do not need a war with china, and that's kind of my approach and how do we deter conflict? >> as we think about that deterrence, however, and planning for it and signal what it is that eawe were going to d and do things that we don't like such as chinese aggression against taiwan or somewhere in the indo-pacific and what is your view on how we best limit the potential exposure to us in any such conflict? how are we going to counter chinese aggression should that ultimately come to pass? the question is really how will we prepare to do it. we hope to not have to do it, but how would we prepare to do it in a way that limits our exposure and limits it, but is also effective. >> i believe in ronald reagan's victim peace through straight, as i said in my opening remarks
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and whether it's in the cyberspace and sub service is important in that theater has had such a capable military that we deter any conflict whatsoever and that's number one. number two, it goes back to building a network of capable allies and partners who can help us a much bigger display of commitment and resolve than we would otherwise as ones or twos and we need to look aggressively and where else we can have, and pursue new partnerships with countries like indonesia, vietnam and others to really build a community of like-minded nations who aren't there to confront china, but to deter bad behavior and making sure that we have sustained the rules based order. >> by my count it's the det eps of eshlgs di? >> would you support that indo
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pay com has what it needs to address near-term operational shortfalls? >> yes, sir. i would like to understand where the money is coming from, and we need to approach these issues holistically. >> one last thing here. i've made clear my support of the president to a free and open pacific and our allies contribute to their fair share to their defense and with that in mind how should we expect taiwan and others to contribute to their defense with respect to the military acquisitions or otherwise? >> well, i support sales to taiwan. it's a commitment we made under the taiwan relations act. i've seen in my years in d.c. successful administrations commit to that and fulfill it in various ways and that's a place to begin right there with arms sales. it just gives them the capability and builds in operability and so forth and so that's where i would start on that front. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
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secretary esper, prior to becoming secretary you were the top lobbyist for raytheon which, of course, is the nation's third largest defense contractor and under crept ethics rules you are prohibited from participating in any decisions involving eighth onfor two years after your appointment as army secretary, but because you have already been in government for 20 months that recusal period is set to expire in november which means you will soon be able to participate personally and substantially in matters involving your former employer. that's a conflict of interest given that raytheon does billions of dollars worth of business every year with the defense department. so secretary esper, your predecessor, acting secretary shanahan committed to extend his recusal from all matters involving his former employer boeing for the duration of his government service. if you're confirmed will you do the same and commit to extending
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your recusal from any and all matters infvolving raytheon for duration of your tenure as secretary of defense? >> senator, we had this discussion in your office. >> yes, we did. >> and we had this discussion a couple of years ago. on the advice of my ethics folks at the pentagon, the career professional, no, the recommendation is not to. the belief is that the screening process i have in place, all of the rules and regulations and law that i'm -- >> so let's just cut to it. you're not going to do what acting secretary shanahan agreed to do and that is agree not to be involved in decisions involving your former employer where you were head lobbyist for the duration of your time as secretary of defense. >> senator, i can't explain why he made that commitment. he was -- >> you are not willing to make the same commitment is that right? >> he is fulfilling a different role than i am. >> you are unwilling to -- >> i'll take that as a yes, you
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are unwilling to make that commitment. that is not the only ethics problem with your nomination. part of the deal you got from raytheon when you left is the top lobbyist was at least a million dollars in deferred compensation after 2022. the law prohibits you from participating in matters that would affect rating on's ability and willingness to hand you this massive payout, but there's a catch. in a recent memo, you detailed an exception to your ethics obligations by writing that you can get a waiver to participate in matters that directly and predictably affect raytheon's financial interests if it's, quote, so important that it cannot be referred to another official, end quote. this smacks of corruption plain and simple. so here's my question. will you commit that during your time as defense secretary that you will not seek any waiver that will allow you to parts pate in matters that affect raytheon's financial interests? >> senator, let me correct the record with what you said.
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at any time in the past 20-some months to include the last three weeks did i request or seek or receive or be granted any waiver? >> i appreciate, dr. esper that you have not in the past asked for one, but you're the one who has detailed an exception to your ethics obligation by saying that you can seek a waiver in the future and so i'm asking if you're confirmed will you agree not to seek such a waiver? i think it's a fair question. it's a yes or no? i have other ethics issues i would like to cover. >> i think this is a good debate. >> i'm not trying to have a debate. i want to know if you will agree not to seek such a waiver. >> let me read to you this letter. >> is it a yes or no? >> i'll take it as a no. >> i have a third question to ask about ethics. i think i'm entitled to ask these question, mr. chairman. >> his question is a yes or no will he agree? >> i think that dr. esper has the opportunity, should have the
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opportunity to answer the questions that you're asking. you've asked questions and he's trying to answer a question. we'd like to recognize him to answer that question. >> i presume, mr. chairman, i'll get extra time then? >> you can have extra time. >> i would submit this for the record and it's the standards of conduct officer, and i won't the whole thing in the interest of time, at no time d you request, seek seek or receive a waiver in ethics obligation, unquote. >> so i stipulated earlier that i understand you have not asked in the past so i'll ask my question again. will you agree not to ask for a waiver during the time you serve as secretary of defense? >> no, senator i won't because i'm going to continue to abide by the rules and regulations and i'm going to -- >> thank you. i have a third question -- >> to ensure that we stay in the
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ethical midfield. >> i recently introduced legislation to block the resolving door between the pentagon and giant defense contractors like raytheon by prohibiting big defense contractors from hiring former senior dod officials for four years after they leave government. if it were the law you couldn't go back to work at raytheon or any other defense contractor immediately. in other words, it would help close the revolving door. if confirmed, will you commit not to work for or get paid by any defense contractor for at least four years after your government service? >> no, senator, i will not. >> all right. so let me get this straight. you are still due to get at least a million dollar payout from when you lobbied for raytheon. you won't commit to recuse yourself from eighth raytheon,a won't rule out taking a trip right back through the revolving door on your way out of government service or even just
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delaying that trip for four years after you leave government. secretary esper, the american people deserve to know that you're making decisions in our country's best security interests, not in your own financial interests. you can't make those commitments to this committee, that means you should not be confirmed as secretary of defense. >> senator -- if i may answer your question, at the age of 18 i went to west point, and i swore an oath to defense this constitution and i embraced the motto called duty, honor and country and i have lived my life in accordance since then. i went to war for this country and i served overseas and i stepped down from jobs that paid me less than anywhere else and it was to serve the public good and to serve the young men and women of the armed services so no. i think the presumption is for some reason anybody that comes from the business or corporate world is corrupt. >> i'm asking a question -- no! this is not right, mr. chairman. he does not -- i didn't ask a
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question. >> senator sullivan. >> you've gone two minutes over. i haven't gone over. he has gone over, and he is not willing to make a commitment that he will not engage in conflicts of for the company for which he was a lobbyist. this is outrageous. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank secretary esper for your service to our country. i want to thank the family members here. i have three children myself, and it's not always easy. families are in public service, as well. so i want to thank you for all that you've done for your dad and your spouse. mr. secretary, i'm going to ask you, let's get back to this issue, will you commit to abide by all laws and ethics requirements regarding your prior employment with regard to raytheon? unequivocally? >> absolutely. can i mach one othke one other ?
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>> you may. >> president obama strongly believed in ethics and government. as he was staffing out his cabinet in 2009 he reached out to the top lobbyist at raytheon at the time and he brought him into his government to be the deputy secretary of defense with only a one-year recusal because he was a good man and an ethical man and that person, by the way, was confirmed unanimously by this committee and went to the floor of the senate and was confirmed by the vote of 93-4, and i think that was the right decision to make. i thought that person brought a great -- >> let me raise another issue. i had a bunch of questions, but this is important. you saw senator round and senator cotton raised this issue, senator warren casually throws out the word corruption, casually throws out the word corruption hoping that you will get a stink on it. in your 27 years in service to you areio country as a military officer and a staffer, as
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someone who has gone to war for america, have you ever been accused of corruption before? >> no, sir. never in my life. >> thank you. you and i have had many good meetings and i appreciate our visit when i was up in alaska. let me highlight a couple of areas where i think the pentagon needs to focus more. you've heard a lot about allies from both sides which i think is important. you talked about the national defense strategy and senator holly was talking about china and the national defense strategy does a great job in terms of raising the issue of the rise of china and our focus on the indo-pacific. one area where i think we need to do a better job is the force posture in the region. will you commit to work with this committee with regard to our force posture in the indo-pacific? >> yes, sir because i think it's totally consistent with the national defense strategy which is what i am committed to do. >> let me talk to the issue of
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the arctic. i don't want to disappoint senator king by not raising these issues, so i will. you know, it does seem that most agencies in town with the exception of the pentagon are focused on this and secretary pompeo gave a very important speech on the strategic interest we have and mr. chairman, i will submit for the article that focus china's and russia's interest in the arctic how it was a strategic area and how a lot of washington is waking up to this with the exception of the pentagon. you and i have talked about this a lot. let me just give you one example. the russians are doing all kinds of things and new ports and new airfields and new military commands in the arctic and putin is talking about the arctic as the new suez canal and that they're going to control and we had a provision in this year's ndaa that just said america
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should have a port, which it doesn't have right now that could handle re-supplying a destroyer and not only an aircraft carrier in the arctic. the pentagon approaches and fortunately, this committee rolls the bad advice. can you commit to me to work with this committee to taking a strong look, a personal look at america's strategic and military interest in the arctic and how to protect those? >> yes, and i will try to. >> let me talk a little bit about alaska, mr. secretary, you had the opportunity to visit the secretary of the army. i'd like to say alaska constitutes three pillars of the military mite and we're the cornerstone of the first striker brigade and the arctic and the asia pacific. as a matter of fact, by the end of next year, we will have over
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105th generation combat-coded fighters based in alaska. because of our strategic location and because of the fact as billy mitchell said, i don't want to disappoint senator king. alaska was the best place in the world given the strategic location. it is evaluating the locations and deployments of kc-46s. alaska has 50-year-old tankers up there. what kind of strategic message would we send our potential adversaries like russia, like china, like north korea where supersonic fighters can get to these places from alaska within just a few hours if we were to co-locate over 105th generation fighters with kc-46 tankers in such a strategic area? what kind of message would we be sending? and would you commit to work with me in this committee for
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the most strategic placements of the kc-46 fleet when the air force is looking to do that? >> i will, senator. >> and what kind of message would that co-location send? >> i think it would send -- it's hypothetical that we're committed to the mds and we have extreme reach if we were to do that. >> thank you, senator sullivan. >> senator jones? >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you, mr. esper for your service and being here. thank you for your family for their support of your service. i appreciate all of the work that we've done since i've been in the senate and the time we spent the other day talking about your nomination. we have talked and you have mentioned several times, i think in almost every question, a commitment to the nds, and i think we're all committed to this. i think my question involves how often should we be looking at the nds? how should we tweak it? for instance, we have pulled out of the jcpoa and we've seen iran
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now enriching uranium and clearly, one would argue on a path toward nuclear arms and how often do we look at that and what adjustments -- do you know of any adjustments that need to be made now and particularly, if, in fact, we have a nuclear armed iran. how would that affect implementation of the nds? >> i think it should be referred to constantly and as events change you need to adapt your strategy to the world that you live in. so i think it's a continuous, ongoing process and there's nothing in the world right now that jumps out that says to me we need to change while the nds speaks about russia and china, it explicitly cites the fact that we have to deal with challenges such as iran, north korea and others. >> as you look for it, clearly, we are seeing orion on a path with their nuclear program.
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are there things that ye teed to be doing now that we need to prevent iran from obtaining nuclear arms? >> i do think we need to get back into a negotiated path with them. preferably, an updated version of jpoa with finality and verifiable, irreversible and permanent prohibition on their nuclear work and efforts and that would be number one and we would address the 19s to deliver them, icbm so to me those are two things in a modified that we would like to address. i don't think that people would agree that we need to go down that path and it's bad for the region and bad for the continent of europe, as well. >> i have to get back to the
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discussion about alliances and everybody understands how important it is and it's easier to say than to talk about in a hearing to do, clearly, russia, china, iran and everyone is trying to threaten our alliances and break up our alliances and that's pretty obvious whether what china is doing with the belt and road initiative and what china is doing particularly in turkey. my question though, is, what can we do better? because it seems to me that some of our government's own actions is also undermining those alliances. we have trade policies and we're fighting with our friends which is giving them the opportunity to talk to china. we've got the president who often undermines his own intelligence folks with the russian interference is fake news and cozying up and that's a term that gets used often to the leader of north korea, the leader of russia and others. what are we doing wrong in terms of that and can't we underline
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the alliances by the actions of the government and what would you do different? >> from the dod perspective we have to keep doing now what we do well and i've visited our joint maneuver center where we train all of our allies together fighting against a russian threat, if you will. by the way, that was a big change from when i last served in italy in the early 1990s so we need to sustain those things and i will tell you when i attended the committee at brussels two and a half, three weeks now as acting secretary and we were having candid discussions by any number of things that we could improve the alliance, and we talked about the 4 x 30s initiative where we had 30 squadrons and 30 service combatants and 30 brigades within 30 days and we are taking that seriously in terms of how we develop that. we talk about 5g and how do we make sure that we keep 5g and huawei out of our networks and
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so our alliance is looking forward and i think they have a great leader and we have in ian staltanberg. >> when the president does things are you willing to stand up and say mr. president, your actions may be undermining our ability to strengthen these alliances. can you do that? ? my commitment to all of you is that i will always give the president or all of you my candid, honest advice of what i think is the right course of action. >> and i believe your commitment, sir. i appreciate your time and effort and i look forward to your confirmation. thank you, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman and thank you, mr. secretary, for all of your service and to your family. it's tremendous, and by the way, sacrificial service, and i know that throughout that service i'm sure you have people who disagree with your line of work and have probably even been hostile at times and i'm sorry it had to happen in this committee and just know that as
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you can tell, by and large we're not here to question your integrity. that's already been well established by lots of people. i appreciated your opening statement and your answers to questions your commitment to the importance of that deterrence and specifically the ground-based strategic deterrent. as you know, north dakota is home to about 150 of the minute mans scheduled by the air force to be replaced by the modernization effort somewhere in the 2028, to 2035 timeframe as they are assumed and analysis determined that they would have the legacy about that time, but there are some that want to delay that, that think that further study is required and one of the things that i appreciated the that you
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mentioned multiple times and that was understanding the long game and being committed to the long-term plan. can you speak further about the importance of that one part of the triad, the ground-based strategic deterrent and why sticking to the timeframe is important? >> the timeframe is important because we do need to modernize the triad. it needs to be -- two parts of deterrence is having the capability and the will to use it. the capability means that the triad, at least in this case, the ground-based strategic deterrent must be reliable and effective and we need it to be safe and building the other mechanisms and it needs to be cyber protected and that is a reason to modernize it and each leg of the triadprovides different capabilities. in the ground-based deterrence, they have reach targets much more quickly and because they're in a fixed site they are more accurate. so all those things are
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arguments in favor of having a ground-based strategic option. >> thank you. another issue that you raised a far bit and we talked about the do main space as well as cyber. as you know the defense authorization act and then the senate includes the standing up of space force and they call it space corps and we've had serious consideration and discussion and some disagreement on what the leadership ought to look like for that, and i know there have been multiple options that have been presented, proposals by the administration and the dod and the one we settled on was a version of the most recent and that is something that would be similar to the marine relationship to the navy, and i guess i'd be interested just in your thoughts about that and what we've settled on. the leadership model is where i focused a lot of my attention in ensuring that there is a
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permanent seat with the joint chiefs, that the responsibility of the commanders to answer to the secretary of the air force and some of that would be in dispute and i would be interested in your observations. >> i obviously support the budget proposals for standing up the space force. at this point in time the house has a view on that and the senate has a view, and i think obviously if confirmed i would want toen game the committee and both committees to come up with that and you have to ask yourself what are you trying to do in which we support combat operations and we look down upon the world and see what's happening and it is now a war fighting demand and not because we made it that way and so what you want to do as much as possible to make sure we are sufficiently robust in the space war-fighting do main is to ensure that you have uniuty t or
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fighting command and unit of effort. >> the closest analogy i have to this and i made mention to you is in 1947 they pulled the army air core out of the united states army and it freed up our aviators to think about war fighting in the air do main and how you conduct warfare that was focused on ground combat and that's how i think about this problem. it is a new domain of warfare and it requires a different construct and a different way of thinking about it. >> i appreciate your service and your good answers and i yield. >> former special counsel robert mueller is on capitol hill next week testifying in back-to-back hearings about possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by president trump and russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and our live one-day coverage on july 24th starts at 8:30 a.m. eastern and watch on c-span3, online at
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c-span.org or listen with the c-span radio app. >> in 1979 a small network with an unusual name rolled out a big idea. let viewers make up their own minds. c-span opened the doors to washg washg approximately see bringing you unfiltered content from congress and beyond. a lot has changed in 40 years, but today that big idea is more relevant than ever and on television and online, c-span is your unfiltered view of government so you can make up your own mind, brought to you by your cable and satellite provider. >> and we are going to get you live now to a senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee hearing to hear testimony from census bureau director stephen gillingham. he testifies about preparations for the 2020 census. >> so rather than present my opening statement i'll just enter it into the record and get right to ranking member and to witness estimates with senator
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peters. thank you, mr. chairman. the 2020 census will serve as a road map for the next decade, determining how billions of dollars of federal resources and representation will be divided among the states and it will undoubtedly impact every community in america and every person must be counted. an accurate count isn't just about understanding how many people live in our country. this is about ensuring that communities across america have access to the resources that they need to grow and to succeed. public health officials use census data to direct resources to combatting the opioid crisis and other health emergencies. first responders and disaster relief agencies used this data to determine where they should direct emergency response efforts. local businesses also use census data to help decide

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